Obituary of Gary Douglas Owen
June 27, 1936 – February 2, 2023
73 Year Resident of Santa Cruz
Services will be on Friday February 17, in Santa Cruz for longtime resident Gary Owen who passed away peacefully at his home. Born in San Pedro, California to Helen and Donald Owen, he was 86 years old.
Gary was raised in San Francisco and spent most of his life in Santa Cruz; graduating from Santa Cruz High School and later majoring in business at San Jose City College. Born into a military family, Gary also resided in Long Beach, CA; New York, Grass Valley, and Los Gatos.
Gary served his country in the US Army in 1956 and assigned to the DMZ in Korea through 1958. Upon returning from his service duty, he became the proprietor of a local tavern in Santa Cruz called the Stein Club on Beach Street in Santa Cruz. He later worked as a purchasing agent for several companies including Sylvania, Job Corps, and the County of Santa Cruz and City of Watsonville.
Gary had a profound love for animals, especially his horses: Roane, Jigs and Smokey; beloved Cocker Spaniels; numerous cats, and his rescued Love Birds. As a young boy, he had a passion for anything with four wheels and through the years obtained sports cars and Fifth Wheel RV's. Gary and his wife Ruth loved to travel across the country, go camping and vacation on ocean cruises. He also enjoyed having a good party and tipping a glass of wine. In his younger days, he was an accomplished tennis player and enjoyed golf in his later years.
Gary will forever be remembered for his exceptional sense of humor and the book he wrote “That Sweet Money Tune” which detailed his adventures as a former owner of the Stein Club Bar, and as a restaurant entrepreneur. He was a member of the Santa Cruz Host Lion’s Club and served as the clubs’ president for the 2009-2010 term. During his term in office, he wrote and produced the skit, “How Santa Cruz Lost Its Title, Surf City”, with the story revolving around a surfing safari and the “Saga of Lion Wing Nut, and Lion Web Foot” as the main characters. The skit won the Santa Cruz Host Lions Club Award.
Gary is survived by his wife of 46 years, Ruth Owen, his sisters; Sharon Agorastos, Megan Fuller and her husband Mike; his two brothers Jim Owen and wife Pilar, and Don Owen. Gary also leaves his nieces: Terri Owen, Kelli Owen, Beth Crawford, Jessica Owen, Jennifer Starbird and nephews Brian Owen, Kevin Owen, Cameron Fuller, Robert Agorastos and Joe Lantry. Gary was preceded in death by his nephew, Larry Agorastos in October, and also leaves eight grand nieces, seven grand nephews, four great grandnieces and a great grandnephew.
A graveside ceremony with military honors will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 17 at Oakwood Memorial Park 3301 Paul Sweet Road in Santa Cruz. In lieu of flowers, a kind act of charity can be made in his memory to Santa Cruz SPCA PO BOX 3800 Santa Cruz, 95063 - or to the Sempervirens Big Basin Fund to plant a tree in fire damaged Big Basin Park – sempervirens.org/big-basin-fund.